Historic New York Barns

As we’ve driven around upstate New York we’ve seen a lot of wonderful old barns and beautiful farms. Agriculture is a major component of the New York economy and the Finger Lakes region is the center of that business. There are over 35,000 farms in New York and the state is a top-ten national producer of cow milk, apples, grapes, onions, sweet corn, tomatoes, and maple syrup. So anyway…as we’ve driven around I started wondering why are barns usually painted red? So here’s what I found on the Internet.



16th-century Ballycarbery Castle is a modern structure compared to two other fortifications near Cahersiveen: the ring forts of Leacanabuile and Cahergal. Ring forts are difficult to date, but archeologists believe these were built in the 9th and 10th centuries. We visited all three on a bicycle tour of the area, and also took in the…

Time to Go, Already?

I won’t pretend, as I have in the past, that I’ve been keeping the blog up to date.  So this may be a bit longer as I am covering about 5-1/2 weeks worth of stuff. Since the last entry in the middle of June, we’ve headed up to Juneau, over to Glacier Bay (with two stops in Hoonah), back to Juneau and now down to Ketchikan.

2017-06-208xAlong the way to our first stop in Juneau, we anchored in Pavlof Harbor, about halfway up the east side of Chichagof Island.  Our friends, Craig and Ann in “Shot-8”, were also anchored there.  They are avid fishermen and took Marcia fishing along the stream in the lake above the harbor.  They were fly fishing while they loaned Marcia a spin casting reel.  I declined the opportunity to fish but enjoyed the walk to the lake.

2017-06-241xWe also checked the anchor SE of Gustavus along the channel separating Pleasant Island from the mainland. It is a fine anchorage in settled conditions but has lots of current and exposure to wind (depending on direction).  2017-06-250xWe had good conditions and were rewarded with a stunning sunset and sunrise of the Fairweather Range which separates Glacier Bay from the Gulf of Alaska.

While in Juneau we did our mid-cruise heavy provisioning at Costco and Fred Meyers. We rented a car to make that possible. We also bought a new outboard to replace the one that took a bath in salt water when the dinghy flipped upside down in the water after we had an equipment failure in our lifting equipment. Besides those boat chores, with reliable cell phone and semi-reliable Internet, we coordinated our rendezvous in Hoonah with friends Natala and Don who were flying up in their float plane.

2017-07-003xDon & Natala were flying up from a fishing lodge on the west coast of Vancouver Island. The original thought would be they would stay the night in either Ketchikan or Sitka before heading into Hoonah.  They hit favorable winds, though, and were able to fly to Hoonah after clearing immigration and fueling in Ketchikan.

2017-06-272xComing from a fishing lodge, they brought with them the salmon they caught at the lodge.  The lodge, of course, had cleaned, packaged and flash frozen before leaving.  We raced it over to the freezer on board Alpenglow. Marcia used their salmon for two of the three dinners while they were aboard.

Following Don & Natala’s departure, we worked our way over to Glacier Bay National Park where we had a permit for entry (the NPS limits the number of motor vessels allowed in the park at any one time). While this was our seventh visit to the park, we always enjoy the sights.

2017-07-046xThe highlights this year’s visit to the park were the puffins and sea lions at South Marble Island and the goats on Gloomy Knob. The ice in Tarr Inlet up towards the Margerie Glacier was heavier this year and 2017-07-160xwe elected to not pick our way through the debris to get to the head of the inlet.

2017-07-250xAt Bartlett Cove, we visited the recently opened Huna Tribal House.  The artistry and craft in its construction is stunning and the interpretive talk given about the history of the Huna Tribe very interesting.

2017-07-269xBack to Juneau we went for some light provisioning and a few chores but one reason was to visit the Alaskan State Museum in its newly built facility.  For anybody visiting Juneau, it would be a shame to miss a visit to the museum.

2017-07-365xFrom Juneau we headed down Stephens Passage, where we first did some fishing (a very nice halibut and lots of prawns) in the Pybus Bay area then retraced our steps to the Pack Creek Bear Viewing Area on Admiralty Island.  This is a site operated by the Alaska Department of Fish & Game and the US Forest Service.  2017-07-452xThe brown bears that visit Pack Creek are habituated to humans but not food conditioned (they don’t view humans as a source of food).  Pack Creek is a salmon stream and bears depend upon it for their food.  While we were there, we saw about 16 different bears.  We saw 5 sows with 7 cubs all at the same time.

2017-07-490xAfter Pack Creek we managed a rendezvous with Dave & Dorothy on the DavidEllis (a classic style Diesel Duck). After spending a night in Red Bluff Bay rafted together we took each other’s photo in front of the waterfall near the head of the bay.

From there we headed in earnest towards Ketchikan via Rocky Pass.  We were among 4 pleasure craft heading south and were surprised to meet a flotilla of 11 pleasure craft (9 sail and 2 power) heading north.  2017-07-507xWe had to wait on the north side of Devil’s Elbow while they transited this narrow section.

We are now back in Ketchikan, 11 weeks after arriving in early May.  From here we’ll cross back into Canada, clearing customs in Prince Rupert.  We’ll spend the remaining 7 weeks of our cruise slowly working our way back down the coast. 

Amazing Pumpkin Waffles

I have worked on this recipe to perfect these fluffy and delicious pumpkin waffles. They are now the new favorite at the Boatel. Pumpkin waffles can be too heavy and tricky to make if you don’t have the right mixture … Continue reading

Skellig Michael

Skellig Michael is one of the most remarkable places we’ve ever visited. Sometime in the 6th-8th centuries, Christian monks landed on this rugged and remote island off the southwest coast of Ireland. Over the centuries they built a monastery with beehive huts and a chapel high atop the island’s peaks, and extensive steps to reach…

[Kensblog 2017-04] A riddle for you to think about

One of the greater challenges of cruising in the Pacific NW is dealing with tides and currents. The water levels rise and fall large distances (today, around fifteen feet) four times a day. As the water rises and lowers huge amounts of water moves creating currents. Roberta and I spent the last few days anchored in a large bay called “Turnbull Cove.” One of the fun things to do in Turnbull Cove is to hike to a nearby lake. The hike is short; only about a half mile. To do the hike you park yo…
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Lucky Stones

“The only problem with looking for sea glass…is that you never look up. You never see the view. You never see the houses or the ocean, because you’re afraid you’ll miss something in the sand.” —Anita Shreve

I’ve always enjoyed beachcombing…partially because I like the treasures I find, but especially because I love spending time on the beach being close to the water. Every area has a different treasure to offer…shells, sea glass, sponges, lobster buoys and here along Cayuga Lake…lucky stones. The shores of Cayuga Lake are one of the few places where “Lucky Stones” can be found. These are rocks with fossil worm holes. Legend has it that they bring good luck to anyone who finds one. I think I’ll use a few of the stones on my pine needle baskets.

Pender Island

Puff The Magic Dragon (our new diesel heater) continues to give us problems. While waiting on more parts to arrive from Seattle on Monday, we head off to Pender Island for the weekend. We are familiar with the route as just two weeks ago we had anchored here after departing Philbrooks for what we thought […]


Our day trip from Crookhaven Harbour to Ballinskelligs Bay took us past some dramatic coastal scenery and impressive feats of engineering, including The Bull, where a lighthouse perches atop a fantastic tunnel-pierced rock, and the well-preserved monastic ruins on UNESCO World Hertiage site Skellig Michael. Trip highlights from June 19th, 2017 follow. Click any image…

Our Ithaca Neighborhood

Allan H. Treman State Marine Park

“Travel far enough, you meet yourself.” —David Mitchell

We’ve been in our summer home at Allan H. Treman State Marine Park for about two months and we really love this area of New York. Our new neighborhood is beautiful and very relaxing. We are surrounded by the State Park and Cass Park, both have a lot of green space and limited traffic, so our nights are dark and quiet…just the way we like it.